As the co-author of the Productivity Commission's boundary-pushing Data Availability and Use inquiry report, Commissioner Melinda Cilento won't be sti
We recently moved our readers to a new system. You may need to reset your password here to login.
Not a member ? Join here for free.
Forgot your password?
Home People & Capability The paradox of autonomy? Flexible working is making us work longer
Text size :
TAGS flexible working, workplace culture
New research on EU and UK workplaces suggests when workers are unshackled from strict business hours, they work longer — especially men. Could this help public sector productivity, or exacerbate an existing problem?
Freedom is slavery. George Orwell, 1984.
Imagine if you could work whenever and wherever you wanted to. Would you work less and enjoy more time with family and friends? Or would you end up perpetually working, have work spill over into the rest of your life?
Many do not have to imagine what this freedom is like. Roughly a third of all employed workers in the UK have flexibility over their working hours and about a fifth of people work from home on occasion. Across the EU, about 17% of all employed workers have access to flexitime, which means their work start and finish times are flexible. Another 5% have full autonomy over when and how long they work.
Contrary to what you might expect, those with more control over their work schedule work more than those with less control. In fact, people have a tendency to work more overtime hours once they are allowed to work flexibly, compared to when they were not.
Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.
The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
Read Related Content